FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Still Torture After All These Years

Thomas Buergenthal, 81, was a judge for the International Criminal Court (ICC) for 10 years. Last July he said the architects of systematic torture in the G.W. Bush Administration, Dick Cheney in particular, will eventually be prosecuted. Last year, President Obama also stated, “we tortured some folks,” which is an admission to both a federal crime under the Federal Torture Act and a violation of the UN Convention against Torture.

Judge Buergenthal told Newsweek, “Some of us have long thought that Cheney, and a number of CIA agents who did what they did in those so-called black [sites], should appear before the ICC.” As if to taunt the Fates, Cheney has said, “I’d do it again in a minute” when asked about the use of torture.

Additionally, according to two Senate reports, one in 2009 from the Armed Services Committee and one in 2014 from the Intelligence Committee, the America Psychological Association (APA) acted in the Bush/Cheney torture program as enablers. Singled out by name were psychologists James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen, who designed U.S. military and CIA torture methods and “were instrumental in persuading the CIA to adopt stress positions, temperature and dietary manipulation, sleep deprivation and waterboarding in interrogations,” the Guardian reports.

The APA asked U.S. attorney David Hoffman to investigate complaints by some of its members over “collusion with the Bush administration to promote, support or facilitate” torture. The APA’s strict code of conduct forbids its members from aiding in the torture, although the rules permit involvement with military interrogations. In July, Hoffman completed his report and the APA’s ethics chief Stephen Behnke – who stifled internal dissent over the collusion, suppressed ethics complaints, and manipulated membership resolutions and voting – quickly resigned.

The U.S. government knows who committed the crimes – and who destroyed videotape evidence – but Obama refuses to prosecute and his administration stands accused of actively hampering investigations into secret CIA torture sites. In fact, the only CIA officer ever prosecuted in this ongoing scandal was John Kiriakou. In 2007, he was imprisoned for two years for divulging the truth about the CIA torture. The agents breaking the laws remain free.

Both Kiriakou and Jihad Ahmed Mujstafa Diyab are owed official pardons by Obama. Diyab is a Syrian who has been imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay since 2002. He was cleared for release – without being accused of a crime – in 2009 but remains imprisoned. Diyab is being brutalized by the “force-feeding” because of his long-lasting hunger strike. Steven Miles, a University of Minnesota Professor of Medicine, told the New York Times that being strapped into a restraint chair and having a tube pushed into your nose and down to your stomach is painful to endure. Dr. Miles says the prison has turned force-feeding into “a penal strategy dressed up to look a medical procedure.” A lawyer for Diyab, Eric Lewis, told a federal court last October that the force-feeding constitutes torture because it inflicts “additional and gratuitous suffering” in order to compel prisoners to stop nonviolent protesting.

The UN Human Rights Committee has called for further investigations into the “unlawful killings and the use of torture in overseas operations” used by the U.S. The UN Committee against Torture has raised concerns over current interrogation rules used by the U.S., its failure to fully investigate allegations of torture, and the “draconian system of secrecy” and indefinite detention without charge or trial at Guantanamo Bay.

A full accounting and criminal investigation of the torture regime must be made, including disclosure of videotapes of CIA interrogations under Bush and of force-feeding under Obama. There is no other way to demonstrate that law binds U.S. presidents, to ensure that such crimes are not repeated, to recover the right to condemn torture by other states, and to reduce the chances that captured U.S. soldiers will not be tortured using the same sickening rationale that Cheney still spews on Sunday talk shows.

More articles by:

John LaForge is a Co-director of Nukewatch, a peace and environmental justice group in Wisconsin, and edits its newsletter.

September 20, 2018
Michael Hudson
Wasting the Lehman Crisis: What Was Not Saved Was the Economy
John Pilger
Hold the Front Page, the Reporters are Missing
Kenn Orphan
The Power of Language in the Anthropocene
Paul Cox – Stan Cox
Puerto Rico’s Unnatural Disaster Rolls on Into Year Two
Rajan Menon
Yemen’s Descent Into Hell: a Saudi-American War of Terror
Russell Mokhiber
Nick Brana Says Dems Will Again Deny Sanders Presidential Nomination
Nicholas Levis
Three Lessons of Occupy Wall Street, With a Fair Dose of Memory
Steve Martinot
The Constitutionality of Homeless Encampments
Kevin Zeese - Margaret Flowers
The Aftershocks of the Economic Collapse Are Still Being Felt
Jesse Jackson
By Enforcing Climate Change Denial, Trump Puts Us All in Peril
George Wuerthner
Coyote Killing is Counter Productive
Mel Gurtov
On Dealing with China
Dean Baker
How to Reduce Corruption in Medicine: Remove the Money
September 19, 2018
Bruce E. Levine
When Bernie Sold Out His Hero, Anti-Authoritarians Paid
Lawrence Davidson
Political Fragmentation on the Homefront
George Ochenski
How’s That “Chinese Hoax” Treating You, Mr. President?
Cesar Chelala
The Afghan Morass
Chris Wright
Three Cheers for the Decline of the Middle Class
Howard Lisnoff
The Beat Goes On Against Protest in Saudi Arabia
Nomi Prins 
The Donald in Wonderland: Down the Financial Rabbit Hole With Trump
Jack Rasmus
On the 10th Anniversary of Lehman Brothers 2008: Can ‘IT’ Happen Again?
Richard Schuberth
Make Them Suffer Too
Geoff Beckman
Kavanaugh in Extremis
Jonathan Engel
Rather Than Mining in Irreplaceable Wilderness, Why Can’t We Mine Landfills?
Binoy Kampmark
Needled Strawberries: Food Terrorism Down Under
Michael McCaffrey
A Curious Case of Mysterious Attacks, Microwave Weapons and Media Manipulation
Elliot Sperber
Eating the Constitution
September 18, 2018
Conn Hallinan
Britain: the Anti-Semitism Debate
Tamara Pearson
Why Mexico’s Next President is No Friend of Migrants
Richard Moser
Both the Commune and Revolution
Nick Pemberton
Serena 15, Tennis Love
Binoy Kampmark
Inconvenient Realities: Climate Change and the South Pacific
Martin Billheimer
La Grand’Route: Waiting for the Bus
John Kendall Hawkins
Seymour Hersh: a Life of Adversarial Democracy at Work
Faisal Khan
Is Israel a Democracy?
John Feffer
The GOP Wants Trumpism…Without Trump
Kim Ives
The Roots of Haiti’s Movement for PetroCaribe Transparency
Dave Lindorff
We Already Have a Fake Billionaire President; Why Would We want a Real One Running in 2020?
Gerry Brown
Is China Springing Debt Traps or Throwing a Lifeline to Countries in Distress?
Pete Tucker
The Washington Post Really Wants to Stop Ben Jealous
Dean Baker
Getting It Wrong Again: Consumer Spending and the Great Recession
September 17, 2018
Melvin Goodman
What is to be Done?
Rob Urie
American Fascism
Patrick Cockburn
The Adults in the White House Trying to Save the US From Trump Are Just as Dangerous as He Is
Jeffrey St. Clair - Alexander Cockburn
The Long Fall of Bob Woodward: From Nixon’s Nemesis to Cheney’s Savior
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail